Friday, December 31, 2010

Came back from a swim the other day and while rinsing out my bathing suit I read the tag. Seems it's 82% Antron Nylon, 18% Lycra Spandex, 57% Tactel Nylon, and yet another 43% Lycra Spandex. Also not for use in spas or hot tubs. Wowser.

We bailed out of the BVI on Tuesday. It's the busiest week of the year for charterers, and we seemed to be right in the middle of loud-mouthed shnook territory (LOOK AT DADDY DYLAN!! LOOK AT THE CAMERA!! OKAY DYLAN, NOW JUMP IN THE WATER!! WAVE TO DADDY DYLAN!!OKAY NOW ETHAN, LOOK AT DADDY, COME ON ETHAN!!! JUMP SWEETIE!!!!).

Little Harbour, on Jost Van Dyck, looked pretty quiet at first, but by sunset, there were 28 charter boats on moorings, and us, anchored, and more charterers arriving and trying to anchor. Yoicks. We upped and scooted around the corner to a place with no moorings and anchored again and felt...delivered.

Consult with Mi Amante suggested the bail-out option the next morning, so we checked out at Soper's Hole and now we find ourselves in relative peace and quiet in Rendevous Bay, St. John's. We'll head back to the BVI in a few weeks - it's only a few miles away.

Mi Amante is having engine trouble, so they're anchored in a fog of diesel fumes. Everytime we see a head in their cockpit, we watch for the "whoo-hoo" signals, but no exuberant dance yet. Perhaps there will be a puff of the correct coloured smoke at some point. Michelle and I took time off from diesel and paint fumes to walk around the rocky shore and look for shells. Mostly, we looked at the rocks - they're just beautiful. Every shade from deep purple to mauve, orange, brilliant reds and greens. Only two shoes, and some plastic bottle tops. The USVI are so very much cleaner than anywhere else in the islands. St. Martin may just take the prize for most thorough and visible spread of trash.

Speaking of mess, we are killing messy jobs now that we are contemplating showing off the boat to prospective buyers. Randy is ruining his back (or so it sounds) sanding and painting the cabin sides. I have painted the cockpit floor (exactly the same surface as a stroopwafel - tiny little perfect indentations all over) and it's lovely, clean and white. Seems a bit hard to have the boat looking her best after we've made the decision to sell. Hasn't been easy in any way to think about letting Nancy D go to someone else. But we are in agreement, and it seems like the right time. As right as it will ever be.

Some snorkelling will be in order if it warms up. Yes, we've been wearing long sleeves and I even had the jeans on last night. They're too loose. I'm missing Edna's brown bread and microwave popcorn. I defrosted the fridge and we were happy to find a nice steak down in the pit. Cooked it for dinner and couldn't eat it - it had that nasty, neglected too long taste. And because snorkelling is on the schedule, we don't throw food overboard. Storing garbage - another interesting aspect of cruising.

Tonight will be an excellent (I hope) meal to celebrate Old Year's Night with Michelle and Charlie. Once again, we'll celebrate at GMT, and we'll all be in bed happily digesting by 9pm. May your celebrations be as felicitous, and your coming year full of happy surprises.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas and all the best for the new year from us to you. Next year will bring big changes for us - we've decided to sell Nancy Dawson. We've had a great time cruising, and we're looking forward to other travels ashore. In the meantime, we're enjoying ourselves, shining the boat up, and making plans for the future. Blog will continue with laundry, fish and food news for the rest of the winter!

If you know anyone who might be a good match for Nancy D, please forward this link:

Happy holidays,
Susan and Randy

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Taken by Kim on Keewaydin - lovely sailing from Antigua to St. Barts

de big fish!

we hauled in the fishing gear after room left in the fridge...

13 hours to the BVI. If we had a tree, maybe Santa would bring him an autopilot.

Mi Amante in the moonlight at Buck Island.
See below for blog update.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy holidays to those of you who are enjoying a respite from paid quotidian labours. (You all with jobs.) Now you have time to cook, clean, shop, decorate, wrap, party, clean up, cook, shop, party, and shovel. I'm just being this way because I can't believe how much I'm missing Christmas. This is festive season #6 on board, and I'm craving everything Christmas. I may be an atheist, but right now I want carols and family traditions (charlie brown tree, where's the scotch tape? The Christmas Story movie, Terry's orange chocolate balls, everybody home), a jolly good round of gift-giving round the tree, fresh gravy stains on the tablecloth, the kids reading their new books and Gus the dog chasing squirrels. Are there squirrels in Lake Annis in the wintertime? I'd love to know. And turkey sandwiches on Boxing Day, with cranberry sauce.

There's lots of food here, still treats aboard from our shopping orgy in St. Martin. There's still mahi mahi in the freezer from the monster we caught on the passage from St.M to the BVI. We left Marigot Bay at about 3:30am, and followed Mi Amante's stern light until dawn. Fishing gear went out about 7am, and at 8, I was below, wedged in the galley trying to peel hard-boiled eggs when Randy let loose with that joyful cry: "FISH!"

Big fish, zooming all over the place. Quickly, quickly, I hauled it alongside, and Randy made one attempt with the gaff that the fish dodged, and just then I noticed that the SWIVEL WAS OPEN. There's a special chemical that gets going in the body when you see something like that, and allows you, fairly reliably, to grab the steel leader and deposit the fish into the cockpit. Some bandaids involved in the mopping up procedure. And when I got back to preparing breakfast, the hard-boiled eggs were still sculling around on the countertop. I was sure they'd be in the bilge.

This time, we weighed and measured: 52" (that's 4 feet, 4 inches long, or about 1.3 metres, whichever is longer), and 23 pounds. Bull mahi, caught with the new green and yellow squid, biggest one I've ever used, about 6" long, with a single hook, and a recycled swivel that nearly ruined the day. Give thanks to the fish, who provided 12 hefty portions of delicious fillets.

We were anchored in Leverick Bay by 4:30 (13 hour crossing, with about one hour of really great sailing, lots of motor sailing, and a tolerable long swell), and the next day Randy and Charlie took a taxi to Spanish Town to check in, and I scrubbed the rest of the fishy bits and rum agricole smell out of the cockpit. Bleah. Then laundry (clean sheets! yay!), and a visit to Pusser's to pick up six bottles of rum for less than 50 bucks. Such a good deal. Post-laundry, Michelle and I indulged in a frozen lime daquiri at the bar, and discovered after the fact that they were 8 bucks each. Could have shared a whole bottle for that....sheesh.

We spent a few days in the bay, admiring "Destiny" and getting to know Rick and Chrissie. One of the prettiest boats we've seen, anywhere, anytime. Rick does beautiful work with beautiful wood. She outshone ND for sure, but then it's a new boat, so it's missing the patina (now there's a good word) that makes ND such a beauty too.

Now we're in behind Buck Island, waiting out a north swell. Not much going on here (excellent paint and varnish anchorage, it turns out), but there's no point moving from here to go somewhere that will be barfy. Saw a fair bit of the eclipse of the moon our first night here, while we were reanchoring after a major wind shift in the middle of the night. Just when you start to get bored, voila, the boat drags in the dark, AND there's an eclipse.

Everybody have an eggnog for me. It would be good with Pusser's, I'll bet. I'll try to post photos very soon, but we have a very weak signal.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Very busy days in St. Martin. The rush is on to buy all the stuff that costs the earth once we hit the BVI. Generally, all the heavy stuff - beer, wine, ginger ale, etc; and meat and treats. There's at least seven different kinds of cheese in the fridge right now, and with very limited fridge space, I'm sorry, but no room for vegetable just now. Freezer is chockful of meat.

Yesterday was the female-only shopping day in Philipsburg. Back Street, lunch, Front Street, then the bus to the Grand Marche and Cost-U-Less (the walk between the two was managed, but just barely, dragging all our shopping bags stuffed with stroopwafels and curry ketchup and gouda) then a taxi back to the dinghy. I never want to go shopping ever ever again. That kind of tired.

So, shopping again this morning in Marigot while we wait for Simon at Yamaha to work some magic on the outboard. Fouling plugs for nearly three years now, and Randy has run out of patience. While he walks back to the Yamaha dealer to check for news, I'm waiting at Saraphina's for Michelle and Charlie. One could be in much, much worse situations. Weirdly tufted pigeon walks under my chair now and again.

Gotta go, more shopping this afternoon.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Shocking good day of fishing on the way from Antigua to St. Barths. First one, a nice mahi, hit the deck about 7 am, and from then on, it was tuna, tuna, tuna (two bonitos and a fat, fat big eye). The ND's crew and friends have been eating very well! Now we're in St. Martin and will be varying the diet with bread and cheese and other very, very good stuff.

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